“It’s a step in the right direction, we in the pleasure boating industry hope that such initiative reaches its logical conclusions,” commented Jitendra Rami, head of operations at yacht refitters, West Coast Marine Yacht Services.
Rami explained the lack of a marina in Mumbai is a real problem for the 350 or so yachts ranging up to 40m in size that visit or base themselves in the city. The fleet currently anchors off the Gateway to India monument, requiring owners to step on board via a small slipway, or, in the case of larger yachts, hire tenders to ferry them around.
“If some one announces a 500 berth marina, you are sold out before you even start,” he said of the expected uptake.
The second problem for yachts regularly moored in Mumbai, and for any of its wealthy that might want to invest in superyacht ownership, is they have to contend with Monsoon season. This lasts from June to October, and currently owners must evacuate yachts to sheltered locations or face damaging their assets.
“This is a yearly ritual which can be avoided if we had marina with suitable breakwater because the waters in the vicinity of Gateway of India get rough during monsoon period,” explained Rami.
More crucially for the superyacht industry, a marina could reignite its long established, but outmoded yachting culture. The historic Bombay Yacht Club, founded in 1846 when the then resident British community took to sailing as a sport, is still going strong but, apart from a few small regattas around the harbour, there is little else going on:
“Currently, all that the sea-men of Bombay Yacht Club do is ‘wine and dine’. With a marina, the yacht owners could avail of captains kept by the marina and invest more in this space,” stated a report on India.tv.
The signs that there is enough interest to fuel take up of a yacht marina from the smaller size bracket of 40m superyachts is encouraging for India’s yachting industry. If the marina goes ahead, it could fill up quickly and snowball into a space for bigger yachts to visit. In the meantime there is the practical imperative for its current residents and the local yacht industry:
“Hope is what keeps as all alive and I would be glad to see first marina come up in Mumbai as it is sorely needed,” concluded Rami.